"... Not only do other teams challenge us, but we challenge ourselves. We're not going to let anybody else talk about that we're not tough enough and we can't do this or that. We know what we're capable of and this came down to us getting focused and executing our game plan."
You held them to one field goal over the last eight minutes. What specifically did you see from the defense during that stretch?
"We were just more aware defensively. Everybody was where they were supposed to be, everybody was aware of the ball screens and backdoors. Everybody knew what was going on, not just with their man. That was the key - everybody being alert defensively."
That was a big steal you had on Drew Neitzel late in the game ...
"He's a big-time player and we feel like we just wore him down. The ball was right there and I just made a play on it."
What does this win say about the team?
"It's a good feeling. We feel like we're getting challenged - 'Are we tough enough?' 'Are we good enough defensively?' It gives this team more confidence on the way we can play and lets us know we're a big time ball club that can win games like this."
On the team's focus and unselfishness -
"It's all about North Carolina. We're trying to move on and win this national championship."
What do you take away from this game?
"This was a great game for us, it really tested how strong we are and how mentally tough we are."
What was it like in the huddle when they held the lead mid-way through the second half?
"We were all cool. Teams are going to make runs - Michigan State is a good team. When they make runs, you've got to make runs right back at them. ... It's business-like. We knew we had the crowd on our side and we just felt like we had to go get it."
What was the approach to guarding Drew Neitzel tonight?
"We just wanted to keep fresh bodies on him and make him work for everything he got. I thought everybody who guarded him did a good job, but you've got to tip your hat to Marcus the way he guarded him down the stretch. [Drew]'s a tremendous player and he hit some tough shots, but our job tonight was to make him earn them."
On dealing with the screens -
"They set so many screens for him. It seemed like every possession you're running through double or triple screens or you're trying to get over two or three ball screens. It's all about getting through screens and then get a hand up when he goes to shoot."